HELP Chicago budget loft wedding?

posted 3 years ago in Chicago
Post # 2
Member
2132 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

My wedding is really different so Im not familiar with those specific venues but as a Chicago area bride I can say that Chicago weddings are more expensive than most. For 10000 you’d have to REALLY skimp (like have a cash bar or really casual food)  if that includes alcohol, table/chairs, decorations, cake.  And if that includes things like photography too absolutely not.  A rooftop view of the city is nice but you are paying for that view.  I’m on a tight budget as well and the only way I was able to have the type of reception I wanted was to find an all in one venue (there are still more off beat ones in the Chicago area) that have food minimum instead of a venue charge.  Our venue has an 8000 minumum.  Our wedding is around 150 and the reception will cost 15k.  100 a head is really the cheapest in the Chicago area for a full evening Saturday night reception in the chicago area (and you will still have to look hard for that).  It isn’t impossible to do a wedding on a budget, it just is a bit frustrating hearing the much lower prices brides from other areas are spending.  I grew up in the area so it was worth it to me.  

Post # 3
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I suppose it depends on what you’re including. If this truly is the reception-only budget, and you include flowers/decorations, photography, videography, transportation, attire, etc. in the ceremony budget, then it would be challenging but possible.

Remember taxes, too–I don’t know what Chicago’s tax rate is, but the $5000 venue would be more like $5350 (if it’s 7% tax.) You could make it work with a breakdown like this:

Grand Piazza–$3600 rental fee (~$3860 with taxes)

Rentals–if the room rental fee doesn’tinclude tables, chairs, and linens, you’ll need to rent these things. In my city, the going rate is ~$6-10/table, ~$2-4/chair, ~$2-4/tablecloth, and ~$1-$3/napkin, so assuming Chicago’s toward the more expensive end, that’ll come to around (again, very rough estimate) $1200 with taxes

DJ– ~$1500ish (I imagine that’s about what it would cost for a not high-end DJ including taxes…you could also skip the DJ and do an ipod playlist instead, save the $$)

Centerpieces, escort cards, any other reception decoration “stuff” you need–aiming for $300-400 total should be possible

So…with a budget of $15,000, if you go with the cheapest venue, rentals are included, you do ipod DJ and very minimal decorations, you’d have roughly $72/person to play with for food. Most places require a 20-25% service charge (plus, again, taxes), so really it’s more like $55/person actual food and beverage cost. That’s enough for a casual meal, maybe anopen bar without preminum brands, and cake (provided you go a cheaper route with cake, like cupcakes or sheet cake.)

If you have to do rentals and you do a DJ and more elaborate decorations, then you might have more of a challenge, but with modest enough food it could be possible. Then you’d have ~$53/person for food, probably more like ~$40/person before service charge and taxes. For that, you might be able to get casual food and some kind of dessert but no open bar, or maybe a beer and wine bar with very modest food offerings.

Post # 4
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

A Sunday afternoon dry or wine-only hors d’oeuvres reception might work well with that budget…

Post # 7
Member
2132 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

freckledjasmin:  With our budget, which is very similar to yours, we ultimately decided to go to the suburbs (which are close to Chicago with a little cheaper prices) and choose Maggianos in Schaumburg.  It is an italian restaurant, but the entire upstairs are huge ballrooms they use for privite events- they do a lot of weddings, but a lot people don’t know about the upstairs, so not as much competition as more well known venues, and the banquet part is totally separate (privite bathroom, private bars, even private kitchen- with the same amazing food as you get downstairs).  The place is known for amazing food, so most of our guests are thrilled to be getting food you’d actually be thrilled to receive at a restaurant, instead of generic wedding food, which usually isn’t very good.  The place is entirely wood (wood floors, wood walls, giagantic wood bar, with huge windows on the side and a few simple cyrstal chandeliar).  It definitely has an old world italy rustic type feel.  Even though my fiance and I aren’t italian, we liked its simple elegance.  After taxes and gratituty, it will be around 100 a head.  That includes open bar, a sweet table, tables and chairs, white or black linens (you can pay extra for any other color), venue charge (which is actually just an 8,000 food and drink minimum, place settings, servers, bartenters, and a wedding coordinator (who is actually amazing)- and we choose the most expensive package.  So definitely something that worked with our budget, and our desires to hold a full Saturday night reception with amazing food.  

There is actually a Chicago location too, and I don’t think it is too much more expensive.  I’ve seen pictures of that location, and it was even more gorgeous and unique than the Schaumburg one (huge gorgeous windows- almost loft like).  We just decided against it because my fiance’s family is traveling from out and state, and they all live in the country.  They will have a hard enough time driving in the suburbs, but they would freak in the city, so we would really have to provide a bus for transportation, which just wasn’t in the budget.  It’s ok though, because I have more of a connection with the location we are getting married, and our coordinator has been seriously amazing to us.   I remember as a little girl going to eat there with my family and seeing a bride and groom go up the gorgeous spiral staircase and looking at her in awe (being someone who NEVER dreamed about my wedding growing up that is one of the only wedding related memories I have).  

Definitely look into them.  The only other venues a saw at a similar price range were all generic banquet halls.  They were all really gaudy with tons of really cheap looking fake crystals and generic gross banquet hall food- both which I strived to steer far away from.  

Our second choose venue was Lincolnshire Marriott.  I’ve heard great things about it and it overlooks a beautiful golf course.  We just wanted a bit of different venue than a hotel, since so many weddings are in hotels (though its convenience does have its perks).  It was also slightly more expensive.  

I also looked into Womans Club of Evanston seriously.  I remember it being pretty reasonable and it is gorgeous.  Evanston is a gorgeous area JUST outside of Chicago, but it is on the lake and you can see the skyline.  However, it is just the venue and you have to get everything else (I think it was only around 2k though), and I think they had tables and chairs at least.  I’m also planning my wedding from out of state, and I’m pursuing my PhD, so I decided I didn’t really have time to research all those different vendors.  But the place is very beautiful, with a lot of history (the building like many in Evanston I believe is over 100 years old) 

Post # 8
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

I was like you and wanted the whole urban experience for my wedding. We did NOT compromise on the venue and we have no regrets. With the right venue, you don’t need as much “stuff” to decorate or turn a blah space into your dream wedding. 

I’ve been to events at Ignite Glass Studios, and that building is beyond gorgeous. The rooftop there is awesome. You get the cool urban view but if you look down you can see the courtyard. They have free parking too, which will save $$$ on valet. 

No matter what venue you choose, ask the events coordinator for recommendations of past vendors. The pricey venue may be the better deal if they don’t require you use certain vendors (so the prices on everything else is more competitive) and they have recommendations for who is good and cheap in town. We married at the now-Waldorf downtown and we paid a premium for the wedding catering since we only had one caterer option. I LOVED my wedding, but if I wanted more bang for my buck, I’d choose a venue with NO exclusivity. 

PS-DJ Mike with Dial-A-DJ is a little kooky but he gets the party started. I think he only charges $450 for an evening. I hired him for an arts event on a tight budget. 

Post # 9
Member
122 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Hey ladies….I’m looking for a downtown rental loft to host a bridal shower any suggestions?  

Post # 10
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

Joyndez, any of the venues OP might be an option (or really a smaller space within them). Someplace like Ignite Glass Studios will have a HUGE event space that you would have to rent if you wanted to bring in catering/bar service. That only makes sense if you are having more than 20 people. Depending on how big the shower is, it may be a better option to do it in a restaurant. You could still have that cool urban loft vibe if you book closer to the warehouse district, like Sepia or Nellcote. 

Just ask about reserved parking. The bride is going to get a TON of gifts and you don’t want to have to walk too far to put gifts in cars, etc. 

Post # 11
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

freckledjasmin:  I’m getting married at Grand Piazza in September, and do think it’s possible to have a $15k reception there IF you do things a certain meticulous way 🙂 When we booked, there were 3 caterers to choose from — one is Victoria Banquets which is in the suburbs, and therefore cheaper than the city places. We went with a full meal and did the whole big package but I think if you did maybe like heavy apps and light meal (stations maybe?) you could make it work for 150 guests. Maybe..haha There’s so many hidden costs with wedding services!! But just for reference, for our served apps, salad, guest choice dinner (chicken, steak, fish), champagne toast and a 4 (or 5…can’t remember) hour open bar it’s about $70pp, on paper at least. But that’s a fulllll meal like I said, and Victoria’s has other options!

However I will put it out there that Grand Piazza is in no way lofty.. The skyline part for sure, though! The ballroom is pretty basic, but can be spruced up with uplighting and such. But definitely the main appeal is the rooftop 🙂

Good luck, happy planning!

Post # 12
Member
357 posts
Helper bee

My friends did it at Centered Chef and Artango. Both are nice venues. I didnt ask them how much, but both have good amount of parking being loft spaces. I know the girl who did Centered Chef was on a budget and you can bring alcohol yourself.

Post # 13
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Do your research on ArTango.  It’s a super neat looking place, we looked into it when we were deciding to book, but everyting just seemed off. There are quite a few VERY iffy reviews out there if you look around. A couple of good ones, but the iffy ones are pretty not great. Anyway, Kitchen Chicago has a lot of great reviews, we were going to go with them but too DIY for the time we had to put into the wedding.

good luck!

Post # 14
Member
34 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Check out Kitchen Chicago and City View Loft, which is one floor above Kitchen Chicago.

Kitchen is located in an industrial neighborhood, but the space is a gorgeous loft! Kitchen was $2600 for the full day when I booked last summer, however they’ve probably raised their prices a bit. Still, it was the most affordable and flexible venue I could find. The owner has been extremely helpful and accomodating so far. Also, they let you bring in any vendors you want as long as they are appropriately licensed. It seats 150-180 max.

City View Lofts is one floor above Kitchen and has beautiful City view, so you don’t need a roof top. I think that Kitchen and City View may be available together starting in 2015, as one of the wedding coordinators mentioned this to me, but I would reach out to them. City View is a bit more expensive than Kitchen and you have to use their vendors, but it is still a beautfiul space.

I would not recommend Lacuna Artist Lofts. It’s a really cool loft space with an outdoor patio overlooking the skyline, but the wedding coordinator is horrible. She would not quote me a price for almost 2 months even though I was calling and emailing her every few weeks. She also required the number of people and additional information for the quote. Head counts are important, but they only provide the space, and it seemed like they were giving individual quotes based on wedding size rather than a flat-rate. I became so frustrated just trying to get the price, that I decided against using Lacuna.

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